Why Don’t We Really Talk to Each Other Anymore?

boys at park

You know I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately. It seems that despite all the trillions of words published on the Internet, uttered on television and exchanged between people on a daily basis there is really very little genuine communication happening in the world. Oh, the words are coming out fast and furious but is anyone really listening or noticing if anyone is listening? It seems to me that these bagillions of sound bites are just forming a collective blog of white noise that has just become a constant hum in the background.

How’d we get here?

How did we get here? Did we all just wake up one day and realize that there was some sort of spewing-out-words competition going on worldwide? We have to write our blog posts, write our comments in forums, brag on social media channels, and be the first to have 20 affiliate sites online? We have to text about every stupid thing somebody said or did or wore? We can’t put down our phones for one second to even acknowledge the grocery store checker or coffee house barista? We can’t even cross the street without a phone or iPod stuck to our ears? Methinks, yes. That does seem to be the case.

Thanks to technology, we no longer need to leave our homes to get what we want. We can order anything from furniture to diapers online. We can work from home in our pajamas, via the computer. We can stay in touch with family via social media, iPhones, Skype and email. We never actually have to be face to face with another human being. Ever.

What’s wrong with that?

Well there is nothing wrong with technology, in fact, it’s great. However, it does make things too easy for us. It makes it too easy to be disrespectful, mean and rude. It makes it too easy to see people as numbers, opposites, enemies, competitors and rivals. It brings us together but it also tears us apart. And there is one thing that technology can never give us and that’s humanity. We are living, sentient beings capable of incredible things. Kindness that no machine can ever replicate. Caring that no social media outlet will ever express. Love. Companionship. Understanding. Loyalty. Sympathy. Empathy. Joy. We humans really rock. And sadly, we don’t seem to value each other nearly as much as the latest release of our favorite gadget.

Hug your favorite human today

For certain, technology is not going away. And no doubt, better and better gadgets will be developed and embraced. Politicians will come up with more and more classes and categories to put us in. Dueling groups will duel into infinity and beyond. But I challenge you to hug your favorite human today. Put down the phone, the mouse, the iPad and talk to your mom. Sit on the porch and ask your granddad about what life was like when he was a boy. Go out to your garden and dig around in the dirt with your kids. Have a sit-down family dinner and talk about what happened today. Smile and ask the young kid at Starbucks how they’re doing. You may be surprised. You may find that humans are great fun to talk to and have ideas and dreams and wisdom to impart.

Writer Chick

Copyright 2013

Why I Write This Blog

Not long ago, one of my fellow bloggers, Alex, offered to send me a list of questions to re-evaluate my blog – from the standpoint of what my goals were concerning it. I have to say that the questions were damn good and they covered a lot of ground – and frankly, I’m still grappling with the answers to many of those questions. However…

One thing I have realized or perhaps, re-realized is that there were a lot reasons I started it, a lot reasons I continued it, considered getting rid of it, went to self-hosting, and have kept at it – but beneath all those many reasons which are all valid in their right there is one over-riding reason that I write this blog. In a word – Communication.

I am very big on communication, I always have been and I always will be. I believe that it is not guns, wars, politicians, psychobabble, any kind of ‘ism’, social programs, tax dollars, medications, et.al. that is the universal solvent or solution – but rather it is communication. Not talks or summits or deals, or any of the crap that comes out of officials leaders’ mouths or people running to become official leaders, but real, live communication. Where people actually sit down and discuss an issue or topic, listening and then responding in a way that shows they have been listening and originating new thoughts, ideas, and solutions to the dialogue toward the end of reaching a real and true understanding. If people, no matter who they were, what they were or where they were did that, so many of the problems in the world would not exist. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there are a lot of great true communicators in the world or not enough of them to make the difference needed.

Sure there is a lot of talk, a lot of dialogue but not really much communication. Honest to goodness communication, where understanding is the ultimate goal. Anybody can talk. Not everyone can communicate. I don’t know why this is but I do know that it’s true. How many times have you experienced having a conversation with someone and then realizing that they really either weren’t listening or they weren’t understanding what you were saying? We all have. And it’s frustrating to feel like you have something to say that you want to be understood by another and know that it isn’t.

I talk about a lot things here – from the ridiculous to the profound. Big questions and little questions. Some of it is absolutely intended to make you laugh, brighten your day in some small way. Maybe make going to or sitting in that cubicle a little better. A small act, true, but one that can’t hurt. Some of it is to make you think – whether about current events, social issues, political actions, belief systems or just maybe even another point of view to consider. Some of it is to make you feel, Theme Fridays come to mind – I like the idea of enticing you into a different world where surprising and even happy things can happen, to enchant you, inspire you, or even make you cry – hey every woman knows that a good cry can be better than a bottle of Prozac any ol’ day. But ultimately, no matter what I write here my intention is to get you to talk – to exchange talk with me. To communicate.

The purpose of this blog is create dialogue of me with you, you with me, you with others – the whole nine yards. It is why I welcome each and every person who makes a comment, why I respond to each and every comment, why I link to you guys in my posts – and I kind of think, it’s why you come here. I am all about the communication, bringing people together to have communication and spreading the seeds of communication out there. I have often referred to this blog as my big kitchen table where there is always a place for anyone who comes by, where everyone is welcome and there is always a big pot of hot coffee brewing and usually cookies or something to nibble on. The more the merrier, as far as I’m concerned. I think of you all (no matter how well I do or don’t know you) as part of the gang, part of the family – we may not agree, we may even bicker from time to time but we’re still all for one and one for all to coin a terrible cliche.

So in the end, this blog is not about stats, or being a power blog, or selling crap, or writing pillar articles or forcing my views on anyone about anything. It is just about getting people talking to each other and reaching for that little bit of extra understanding while they are also reaching for that next doughnut.

As always, I thank you for reading, I thank you for visiting and I really really thank you for communicating and playing this game with me.

Is Virtual Reality – Reality?

I know this is somewhat of a cliché question – we all write about it. The differences between ‘real’ life and virtual life. How people can pretend to be anything or anyone that they want on the Internet essentially with impunity and get away with the most outrageous things sometimes. And of course I am not talking about spamming people’s email boxes with viagra ads. I’m talking about some pretty serious and nasty stuff. Child porn, abductions, identity theft and so on and so forth ad nauseum. But I want to take a little further spin around this block beyond the usual path that is traveled with this line of thinking.

I want to talk about love. LOL – gee that sounds like the beginning of disco song or something. Now before you start getting glazed eyes at the prospect of my doing a post about EHarmony or something hear me out for minute.

Long before there were computers, the internet, television, radio, telephones and any immediate type of communication medium, there were letters. As was the custom many moons ago, people wrote letters to one another, long letters, meaningful letters, letters that told of their secrets, their dreams, their hearts and sometimes the farming news and the condition of Aunt Marion’s bunions. It was also often the case that men and women fell in love through the medium of letters – Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning are a well known and famous example of such a love affair. During their 20 month courtship they exchanged nearly 600 letters. And if you have ever had the pleasure and joy of reading any of these letters you will discover that in fact it is possible to first find your way to love through words. And if you have not read any of these letters, do yourself a favor and read some of them. It will restore your belief in the human heart and in love.

So, tracking up the 21st century – or whatever century we’re in because last I heard there was some debate about it and I can’t be too bothered with it – the letter, has been replaced with the email (essentially). Though often emails are more like grocery lists and jotted scribbles across kitchen pads and are used as a quick efficient modern shorthand to get some basic ideas across, they too are letters. I don’t know about you but I have been known to write some very long emails and had some very long emails returned to me. I have had what I can only describe as a ‘saga’ between myself and some others where the exchange of emails numbered up to 100 over the course of a week. So strong and intense was the need to deliver and receive the ideas and concepts being discussed. For me, communication is communication. The fact that someone cannot see me nor hear my voice does not mean nor make my communication false or insincere. Or that of anyone else.

Bloggers may in particular understand this because eventually you become a part of a sort neighborhood, where you find like minded individuals who share interests, worries, troubles and joys in common through the mutual reading of the blogs. This often begins friendships and emails, chats and sometimes even phone calls ensue. In my case I can say that I have found two lifelong friends all because of the internet and email and online activities. But they are actually more than friends, I truly think of them as family. How this began and how it continued and why it even came about I guess is irrelevent but these two people are no less unbelievably and undeniably loved friends than they would be if we had grown up next door to each other. Phone calls, gifts, birthday cards, care packages, emails all have been exchanged and frequently and regularly and they are part of the paradigm of my life. I honestly cannot imagine my life without them in it. And one of them lives on the other side of the world, literally.

So the question then is how does this happen? How can you come to love someone you have never met as though they were your family? As though you grew up in the same house with them or worked at the desk next to them for the last twenty years. I’m not sure I know the answer but I will give a guess. I think that as human beings regardless of the environment we find ourselves in we give off clues of who we are, what we think, what we like, dislike, are afraid of, hope for and that can actually be perceived by another human if the connection is strong enough and the desire exists.

I have to laugh when I hear people say (write) that they are nothing like they seem on their blogs or on the internet, etc. etc. because of course they must be because they created whatever presence they are in that medium, whether they write about diaper bargains or heartfelt memoirs. A piece of them is there for anyone who has an eye to see it. Not all of them of course, but certainly some part, I don’t see how it could possibly be otherwise.

And it is also human nature to be drawn to anything kindred, in whatever form a person finds it. That they find it online, thanks to some whacky exchange of energy and wavelengths seems to me, irrelevent. Things do happen for a reason. People do cross paths for a reason – the how and where I think is secondary to the reason. So, while there are one million and one reasons to be cautious about meeting people online, becoming friends or even perhaps more – and rightfully so – there are also reasons to remember that the written word has been the medium for companionship, friendship and even love for longer than any of us have been on this earth and so to stay open to the possibility of that I think is worth the risk of being tricked, disappointed or just flat out wrong. You never know, you could end up with two lifelong friends and maybe more.